Entry #15: Shoppers, Sales Records being trampled

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RESTON, VA, November 25, 2012 - comScore (NASDAQ : SCOR), a leader in measuring the digital world, today reported U.S. retail e-commerce spending for the first 23 days of the November - December 2012 holiday season. For the holiday season-to-date, $13.7 billion has been spent online, marking a 16-percent increase versus the corresponding days last year. Black Friday (November 23) saw $1.042 billion in online sales, making it the heaviest online spending day to date in 2012 and representing a 26-percent increase versus Black Friday 2011. Thanksgiving Day (November 22), while traditionally a lighter day for online holiday spending, achieved a strong 32-percent increase to $633 million.

2012 Holiday Season To Date vs. Corresponding Days* in 2011
Non-Travel (Retail) Spending
Excludes Auctions and Large Corporate Purchases
Total U.S. - Home & Work Locations
Source: comScore, Inc. Millions ($) Millions ($)
Percent
Change
2011 2012
November 1 - 23 $11,832 $13,726 16%
Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 22) $479 $633 32%
Black Friday (Nov. 23) $816 $1,042 26%
*Corresponding days based on corresponding shopping days (November 3 thru November 25, 2011)

"Despite the frenzy of media coverage surrounding the importance of Black Friday in the brick-and-mortar world, we continue to see this shopping day become more and more prominent in the e-commerce channel - particularly among those who prefer to avoid crowds at the stores," said comScore chairman, Gian Fulgoni. "With Black Friday online sales up 26 percent and surpassing $1 billion for the first time, coupled with early reports indicating that Black Friday sales in retail stores were down 1.8 percent, we can now confidently call it amulti-channelmarketing phenomenon. Meanwhile, Thanksgiving Day - which has historically been a lighter online holiday shopping day - continues to gain steam and grew well ahead of the current pace as more consumers opted to kick off their holiday shopping immediately after the big meal to take advantage of aggressive retailer promotions. With Thanksgiving now behind us and most consumers returning to work tomorrow, we can look forward with anticipation to Cyber Monday, which according to norms we've observed over the past three years should be the heaviest online shopping day of the season with sales approaching $1.5 billion or even higher."

I always wonder how analysts make projections based on previous years behavior rather than looking at specific factors. What are the big-ticket items this year? How do they compare in cost to previous items? How does the stock and demand compare? Are there deals that feature these items?

I'd have to do more research to see how accurate these projections are, but on the surface of it, I'm pretty skeptical.

BONUS ARTICLE: http://www.engadget.com/2008/11/28/doorbusting-at-long-island-walmart-leads-to-workers-death/

What is wrong with people?

Entry #14: iShop

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http://www-01.ibm.com/software/marketing-solutions/benchmark-reports/black-friday-2012.html?cm_mmc=holiday2012-benchmark-reports-_-press-release-_-wire-_-text-link

According to an IBM report, consumers with iPads made up 10% of all online shopping over the 2012 "Black Friday" consumer binge. This is an interesting statistic, but there's not a lot of context. It's unclear how much of this traffic translates to actual purchases. It also mentions people who shopped in-store while checking prices online on their mobile devices at the same time. How was this tracked? How accurate is their tracking method? What sites were they checking? How did this affect their purchasing?

This report seems to generate more questions than it answers.

Entry #13: Sony in trouble

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"Notable credit rating agency Fitch Ratings has downgraded Sony to "junk", following various hits to the company's reputation including its seventh consecutive quarterly net loss earlier this month.

Sony posted losses earlier this month, in part due to its declining video game business. Now Fitch has dropped Sony down three notches to BB-, meaning that it no longer classes Sony as an investment-grade company.

"This wasn't an easy decision," Matt Jamieson, Seoul-based head of corporate research, told the Financial Times (registration required). "But [Sony and Panasonic's] reputations have been hit so much that it'll take a long while to crawl back."

Jamieson notes that a huge part of Sony's problem is its failing TV business, and if the company was to axe the sector, further downgrades may not be necessary in the future.

Damian Thong at Macquarie Securities added, "They do need to convince people that tough restructuring moves will be done in good time, while minimising unnecessary damage to healthy businesses."

Fitch is the first major ratings agency to downgrade Sony this low, although earlier this month the Moody's agency lowered Sony to just one notch above junk. "

If you do some research into Sony's business you may find some surprising things. For one, their entire company has been kept afloat due to their video game division. Now that sales are down for them, the entire company is in trouble. It raises some interesting questions though. With this knowledge available for several years, why haven't they done anything to remedy the situation? Ah, the unheeded benefits of research.

Entry #12: More people, less spending.

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http://www.newzoo.com/trend-reports/us-games-market-2012-summary-report/

This article reminded me of the example in class where you had to look at more than just the numbers that stand out - such as the overall sample size. While the report says that gamers are spending less money on average, the number of gamers paying to play software is going up, resulting in a net gain overall. There's also a breakdown by platform of choice. The thing I didn't see covered by the report is that the "non-paying" gamers really only exist outside of the console market. Console game developers have been saying for some time that the glut of "disposable" free games on mobile and tablet devices will hurt the industry in the long-term by devaluing software in the minds of consumers. Whether or not such claims are accurate are difficult to determine without looking more closely at multiple factors, such as the rising average age of gamers and the amount of spending as it relates to available leisure time.

Either way, it's an interesting industry to watch!

Entry #11: Interest in Electronic Devices

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I found some interesting Nielsen infographics that look at electronic devices people are interested in (sorted by age).

I think images like these help to present research information in an interesting and readable way.

Holiday-Devices-K6-12.png

Holiday-Devices-P13+.png

Entry #10: Al Gore was right!?

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http://science.slashdot.org/story/12/11/19/1934219/global-warming-on-pace-for-4-degrees-world-bank-worried

I thought this article was a good example of empirical data collected via research being used in a way that tries to help the planet - but still manages to make it about money.

Entry #9: #WarIsTrending

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http://www.cnn.com/2012/11/15/tech/social-media/twitter-war-gaza-israel/index.html

With smaller countries using Twitter as a way to threaten each other over Twitter, it's exciting to think that future generations will be able to see exactly what was said between parties and how that effected relations and events on the world stage.

Since the Library of Congress records every tweet, there will be public records of everything that goes on between these militant social networkers.

Entry #8: I know those are words...

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but I have no idea what they mean to convey in that order.

http://wallstreetpit.com/97881-research-in-motion-rimm-upgraded-could-be-a-43-stock-in-12-months/

As I read this article, I muse musingly to myself that it might as well be in another language. This is clearly not written for "laypeople" and as I'm already not invested in it at all, the chore of gleaning any useful meaning from it is outside the scope of trying to tie it in to lessons from class. Except maybe ensuring your message is tailored for the audience who will be viewing it.

Entry #7 The Case of the Entitled Musician

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http://entertainment.slashdot.org/story/12/11/20/0312215/one-musicians-demand-from-pandora-mandatory-analytics

A professional musician who uses Pandora to get her music out there is demanding a way to be able to acquire data on her audience. Rather than offering to pay for these additional services, she wants it to be a mandatory part of the royalties she already receives from Pandora. I think this has interesting and potentially troublesome implications for existing data collection analysts - their brand awareness is so low for the general population that their services are being requested from their clients.

Entry #6 XXX

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I took the survey in the Sona system about the .XXX domain. I think it's ridiculous that Universities would buy up "all possible" domains that could adversely affect their brand. All this does is encourage domain squatters to buy up domains related to prominent universities to try and make money selling the domains to them or try to steal traffic based on the name. I think a much better way to deal with this would be to pursue legal action against people who try to exploit domains in this category. When enough domain resellers become embroiled in legal battles, it will discourage others from similar behavior.

I personally think there could be some hilarious and effective marketing using the .XXX domain for a university though!

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